June 6th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

June 6th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Spectator 92 Points
GROTH Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2022

Effusive and intense, with a mouthwatering quality to the lingering notes of lemon blossoms, pomelo, fresh-cut Honeycrisp apple and candied ginger preserved in honey. Drink now. 25,000 cases made.—M.W. $30

2020 Austin Hope Paso Robles Reserve Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: This 2020 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon displays an abundance of fresh baked blueberry pie aromas and rich notes of cracked black pepper. On the palate, flavors evolve with fruit forward notes, vanilla bean, cacao and a hint of dried tobacco leaf. The wine finishes with integrated tannins that are soft and supple, accentuating the power and depth of this full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. $150

Wine Spectator 93 Points

RAMEY Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2021

 This powerful version offers mouthwatering lemon curd, lime blossom and mandarin orange flavors that show notes of fresh-grated ginger and lemon verbena. Sea salt minerality gains momentum on the finish, where grace notes of toasted green tea, citrus zest and white pepper linger. Drink now through 2030. 7,176 cases made.—M.W. $50


Taste 2021 The Setting Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Staglin Estate Rutherford Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $30 per person.
Tuesday, June 6th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2021 The Setting Wines Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc

The 2021 Sauvignon Blanc is a gorgeous oak-matured example reminiscent of top-quality Bordeaux Blanc. It's surely a relief for winemaker Jesse Katz, who chose not to make this cuvée in 2020. "This vineyard is out in Dry Creek and it was too close to the fires," Katz explains. "Everyone says that whites weren't affected, but no—we skipped the vintage there, even for the whites." Aged six months in 38% new French oak, it opens with alluring tones of matchstick that quickly give way to luxurious white peach, lemongrass, kiwi and tarragon plus wafts of river stone and exotic spice. The medium-bodied palate surprises with its concentrated, expansive flavors and boasts an ultra satiny texture. Energetic yet seamless, it calls you back for another sip on the long finish and is a pleasure to drink! 494 cases were made. $55

Wine Advocate 97
2016 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate bursts out of the glass with beautiful black cherry compote, warm cassis and freshly crushed blackberries scents plus touches of chargrill, violets, dark chocolate and pencil shavings and a waft of English lavender. Full-bodied, the palate features great intensity combined with fantastic freshness, textured by soft, finely grained tannins and lifted by the most gorgeous floral perfume, finishing long and layered. Beautiful wine. $300


Taste Roederer Anderson Valley Brut, 2019 Schramsberg Brut Rose and Veuve Clicquot Brut Rose at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, June 7th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 94 Points
Roederer Anderson Valley Estate Brut

Extremely fresh and floral with sliced apples, stones and some white peach. Bread dough, too. Fine bead. Medium to full body with crisp acidity and a steely finish. Hints of phenolics provide a fine texture. Vibrant acidity. About 15% reserve wine (mostly chardonnay) in this, from five vintages. 2.5 years on the lees. 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir. Drink or hold. $30

Wine Spectator 92 Points
SCHRAMSBERG Brut Rosé North Coast 2019

Offers pretty peach and strawberry flavors and a luscious, lingering texture as this takes on spice and orange peel accents on the crisp yet plush finish. Drink now. 19,350 cases made. From California.—T.F. $48

Wine Spectator 91 Points
Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne NV (2022)

Minerally on the nose and lacy in texture on the palate, this layers tangy mandarin orange peel acidity with rich hints of toasted brioche and vanilla as well as flavors of wild strawberry, candied ginger and pastry cream. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Drink now. $60


Taste 2021 Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay, 2019 Kenefick Ranch Chris’s Cuvee Napa Cabernet and 2021 Caymus Napa Cabernet at VRW for $15 per person.
Thursday, June 8th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
SANDHI Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills 2021

Complex and seamless, there's plenty to admire in this white wine. Shows spiced, poached pear, dried apple, grilled lemon and fresh tangerine flavors that are juicy and generous, with details of sage, white pepper and toasted sesame seed on the finish. Drink now. 4,536 cases made.—MaryAnn Worobiec. $35

2019 Kenefick Ranch Chris’s Cuvee Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Aromatics of raspberry hard candies, underlined by fine dark chocolate shavings and cigar box. The palate is dark berry preserve supported by woven dusty fine tannins. Good to drink now and will cellar well for the next 10-15 years. $65

2021 Caymus Napa Cabernet

Producer Notes: Caymus has a signature style that is dark in color, with rich fruit and ripe tannins – as approachable in youth as in maturity. Since its founding in 1972, Caymus has become renowned as a consistent leader in the production of Napa Valley Cabernet. Grapes for this wine are farmed in a range of Napa’s sub-appellations – from Coombsville to Calistoga – with fruit from the valley floor creating lushness and the hillsides providing backbone. Diversification enables us to make the best possible wine in a given year, featuring layered, lush aromas and flavors, including cocoa, cassis and ripe berries. $90


Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points * 2019 Lancaster Winemakers Cuvee Cabernet

The 2019 Winemaker's Cuvee is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 5% Malbec, and the rest Cabernet Franc and was aged for 15 months in 50% new French oak. It is rich with aromas of lavender, tobacco, and boysenberry compote and delivers ripe fruit through the mid-palate, with notes of blackcurrant, leather, and baking spice. This red has immediate appeal, but it will continue to evolve over the next 10 or more years. $105 Internet Price $79.95 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points * 2019 Merus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A killer bottle of Napa Valley magic, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from Merus is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot. It’s a powerful, full-bodied, uber-ripe beauty that stays lively and balanced, with beautiful blue fruits, as well as smoked tobacco, chocolate, and scored earth-like aromas and flavors. A beast of a wine with a great mid-palate and velvety tannins, it should shed its considerable baby fat over the coming 4-6 years and have two decades of overall longevity. $180 Internet Price $154.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
BREWER-CLIFTON Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills 2021

There's terrific focus and intensity to the bright citrus flavors at the core of this white, with yuzu, ruby grapefruit, Meyer lemon and lime zest notes, plus plenty of salty, minerally accents that add a mouthwatering minerality, followed by hints of lemon basil that linger on the finish. Drink now. 5600 cases made. From California.—MaryAnn Worobiec. $35 Our Price $32.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 92 Points
2019 JAX Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromas of blackberries, blueberries, dark cherries, dried thyme and baking spices. It’s full-bodied with fine tannins and lively acidity. Creamy, with a flavorful, fresh finish. Drink or hold. $50 (Available GT and VRW 6/8/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Booker Vineyard Fracture Syrah

The 100% Syrah 2019 Fracture comes all from the Booker Estate Vineyard and is another pure, balanced, incredibly classy wine from this estate. Loads of darker fruits, ground black pepper, crushed stone, and scorched earth give way to a medium to full-bodied, powerful, concentrated Syrah that will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and cruise for 10-15 years. $105 Our Price $94.95 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Roar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, Half bottles

Winemaker Notes: Fruit-driven and wrapped in leather and sagebrush, this blend melds elements from all of our vineyards. This approachable Pinot integrates the best of north and south within the Santa Lucia Highlands. $30/375ml (Available GT and VRW)

2019 Goldschmidt Hilary Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Purple edges lead to a bright red garnet hue. Delicate aromas of strawberry with hints of plum and raspberries. Sweet vanilla opens up on the mouth with highlights of caramel. Essence of mineral and graphite show on the length of the mouth mingling with more vanilla and pomegranate in the finish. $50. Our Price $42.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Piper-Heidsieck Extra Brut Champagne Essentiel NV (2022)

Toasty on the nose, with hints of grilled nut, smoke and spices transitioning on the palate to accent flavors of baked nectarine, candied ginger and mandarin orange peel. Harmonious and expressive, with a fine, raw, silky mousse and pretty lime blossom and graphite accents on the finish. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Disgorged November 2021. Drink now. 1,347 cases imported. $70 Our Price $64.95

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 90 Points
2018 The Paring Red

The 2018 Red is a joyous, vibrant red. Succulent dark cherry, leather, chocolate, tobacco, spice and cedar complement a core of super-ripe dark berry fruit. Bold and exuberant to the core, the Red has so much to offer. Pretty earthy and savory notes lend tons of aromatic nuance. Best of all, the 2018 is an insane value. $25 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The highest quality crop not witnessed in years. I know, I put a lot of eggs in the basket of vintage 2018. However, friends, brace yourself for some delicious, superior quality wines coming from 2021. Across the board—from Chardonnay through to Cabernet Sauvignon— we are looking at magnificent concentrations of color and flavor that forecast a stellar vintage to come. This vintage takes Venge’s Silencieux to another level. $80 (Back in stock GT and VRW 6/7/23)


Taste 2018 Rusack Ballard Canyon Estate Syrah, 2020 Piedrasassi Bien Nacido Syrah and 2021 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, June 9th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
2018 Rusack Ballard Canyon Estate Syrah

Focused aromas of elderberry and blackberry are spiced by licorice, white pepper and graphite on the ripe nose of this bottling, which includes 10% Petite Sirah. There is a thick presence to the palate, where heavy flavors of stewed berry, plum and smoked wood show. $36

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2020 Piedrasassi Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard

Elegant and floral, the medium ruby-purple colored 2020 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard has alluring, layered scents of blackcurrant, blueberry, menthol, bitter chocolate and violet, gaining nuance with each return to the glass. Full-bodied yet light on its feet, it has a deep core of crunchy black fruit, abundant, powdery tannins, fireworks of fresh acidity and a very long finish replete with floral and herbal tones. This was vinified using around 30% whole clusters and comes from the Z and X blocks of Bien Nacido Vineyard. $63

2021 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The highest quality crop not witnessed in years. I know, I put a lot of eggs in the basket of vintage 2018. However, friends, brace yourself for some delicious, superior quality wines coming from 2021. Across the board—from Chardonnay through to Cabernet Sauvignon— we are looking at magnificent concentrations of color and flavor that forecast a stellar vintage to come. This vintage takes Venge’s Silencieux to another level. $80


Taste 2018 Iconoclast Russian River Chardonnay, 2018 Groth Oakville Cabernet and 2021 Fait Main Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, June 10th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2018 Iconoclast Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Iconoclast Chardonnay is thoughtfully crafted. Nine months of aging in French oak reveal hints of apple pie spice. With crisp acidity, a great mid-palate and perfect balance all of which epitomize the high quality of Russian River Chardonnay. $30

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2018 Groth Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville) is fabulous. Moreover, it shows the important strides that have been made here in recent years. A wine of depth as well as energy, the Oakville Cabernet is both complete and absolutely delicious. Time brings out a whole range of leather, spice and chocolate notes to play off a core of intense, dark-fleshed fruit. I would prefer to cellar the 2018 for at least a few years. In a word: impressive. $70

2021 Fait Main Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: his unapologetically juicy, hedonistic wine celebrates all the corners of the Napa Valley. The nose shows rich strawberry, blackberry and chocolate notes that open up on the palate to a silky ripeness with excellent density. Velvety tannins support the full body and allow the long, fruit-filled finish to bloom. $120


Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW)
1552 E. Champlain Drive, Ste 109 Fresno, CA 93720
Via Montana Center (NE Corner Shepherd and Champlain-Two doors south of Big 5) www.vintagereserve.biz 559-878-3953
Tuesday-Friday 12:00 Noon-6:00 PM
Saturday 12 Noon-4:00 PM

The Grape Tray (GT)
6023 N. Palm Avenue Fresno, CA 93704
Opus One Center (NW Corner Bullard and Palm)
www.grapetray.com 559-226-6828
Tuesday-Friday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM

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